In response to TripleOG's comment:
ok, for me personally. I want to see a good defense. They can play 3-3-5, 4-2-5, whatever but the most success weve had came in the 3-4.
Ok, so let me address this. I see a whole lot of this thinking on this board in particular, and I think it is not really the way to go about things. One, the Pats didn't have their most success running a 34 defense. I'll show that later. Two, even if they had, it doesn't mean you run it again. You run the defense and offense you have the talent to run. Just because you used to get to work in 20 min by going offroad and now it takes you 30 minutes riding through the suburbs doesn't mean the only way to work is by going off-road. You stop and analyze the difference. What made that route possible ... better even? Well if it turns out that you had a giant Jeep then, and now you have a sports car, you are probably better off skipping the off-road, skipping the suburbs, and taking the highway.
The reason the 2004 Pats had a great defense was because of the players, not the alignment. Simply repeating the alignment won't give you the same results.
We go through this with every scheme, formation, etc ... there is no magic formula for winning in the NFL outside of high rates of execution. So being religiously attached to one strategy, scheme, formation, or alignment is just not worth it.
I believe BB did come in and use the 3-4 and the 4-3 in 2001 due to injury and cant remember what he ran in 2000 when he went 5-11 and missed playoffs.
Now, this is incorrect. I've posted this hundreds of times, but it just won't stick. So, let's go through it one more time: New England did not run a 34 defense in 2001 or in 2003 ... and only transitioned to this in 2004. According to BB himself ... on multiple occaisions, this is the truth. According to stat sheets, video, etcetera. NEw England was a 4-3 defense, basically until Wilfork and Warren arrive and they stumble upon a complete 3 man front, and only have one real 4-3 end. When they had two 43 ends, and just two real DTs they ran 43. Like in 2001.
Here are just two links to BB saying NE ran a 43 in 2001 and 2003: http://bostonherald.com/sports/patriots_nfl/new_england_patriots/2011/08/bill_belichick_states_switch_defense_uncertain
So back to the original premise ... based on Superbowl victories ... New England has had more of them running a base 4-3 defense. I'll even add to that, even when running the 34 NE dedicated a lot of time to using McGinest as a straight rusher. He was never a very good OLB, but was a superb pass rusher. BB dedicated a lot of time trying to staff that OLB roster spot grabbing Colvin, grabbing Adalius Thomas later on. It isn't until Colvin's first healthy season in 2004 that BB really begins running a native 34 defense, because unlike McGinest, Colvin was equally good standing up.
The thing with me the 3-4 give you the ability to always have that rusher where noone knows where its coming from.
Sure they do ... it's one of seven spots ... just like a well implemented 43 defense. At the end of the day, an I'm deeply channeling BB here, you have seven guys up front. It has less to do with what you call something and more to do with what assignments you choose to give them. You just need to toggle which linebacker you are sending. You aren't even committed to sending 5 if you have a DE who can participate in a Zone Exchange with an OLB. You can send them inside and outside.
Sure the 4-3 is a hybrid and weve seen Fork all over the field and made more plays last year, but we S*ck at rushing the passer. Lets face it. We havent beat up QB's since using the 3-4, so I dont think you jump on fans for wanting to get back to that, but if u dont have the players, why do it?
Again ... sports car or Jeep? Stop and think ... was it the 3-4 that got NE sacks .. or was it McGinest, Sey, Warren, Fork, and Vrabel and Colvin???? The talent was the difference ... not the scheme. If 3-4 defense was a pre-requisite of sacks, then the Giants wouldn't have won two superbowls with their 43. The Colts wouldn't have been one of the most prolific sack machine defenses of the 2000s.
In fact, you have things reversed a bit. 43 defenses, historically, are a better pressure defense. 34 defenses tend toward containment and being conservative (in most cases). This is mostly a product of the kind of athletes each draws ... with 43 being effectively a touch "lighter" that 34.
NE s*cked at rushing the passer because McGinest left/was washed up ... Vrabel left/was washed up, Colvin washed up, Seymour left, and Warren washed up. Then they were replacing them with stiffs like Shawn Crable, Derrick Burgess, Gerard Warren, the quitter Adalius Thomas, Albert Haynesworth, Tully Banta-Cain full time, Kyle Love, Myron Prior. The big, gaping hole really being the drop-off from Richard Seymour to whoever you plug in at 3-5 tech whether they were 34 or 43.
It had nothing to do with switching schemes ... because NE still stunk at rushing the passer when they ran a 34 defense in 2010. They ran a 34 and their best pass rusher was Mike Wright, after that TBC.
A 5 man front of Vrabel, Ty Warren, Fork, Seymour, and McGinest vs ...
Nink, Fork, Gerard Warren, Wright/Brace, TBC OR in 43
Nink, Love, Fork, Dreaderick, Jones (inj) -> Cunningham -> Scott or some alignment.
is .... just .... so .... much .... worse. I can't even fathom the converation.
Now Nink, Fork, Kelly, Jones (yr2 healthy) and Collins/Hightower/Spikes as your OLB blitzers is getting closer. It's not there ... but it is getting closer.
Moreover, and this cannot be overstated ... the secondary was much, much worse during that period. The concept of a coverage sack comepletely dissapeared. Whether in 43 or 34 ... NE has had its hands tied sending extra rushers because their pass defenders were really lackluster. One of the biggest revelations last season was the strategic difference Talib (a shadow of Ty Law) and the move of DMC into his more natural FS position made. When Talib is on and DMC is back there ... Ne can actually play cover-one .... which means they can bring a safety up ... which means they can bring a linebacker up .... into a QBs face.
Nink is never gonna take pressure of C.Jones as a pass rusher. He woud do ok as an OLB in the 3-4, but imagine Jones and Collins on either side and Hightower/Spikes/Mayo manning the 2 inside spots?
It would be awkward. Jones isn't very good standing up. He's got all this random length. Right now Jones is in there rushing the passer and setting an edge 90% of the time. He is a gifted DE, so you really lose something trying to force him to be a mediocre linebacker.
Mayo and Spikes stille man the inside spots ... NE runs a 43 over/under now, one where Fork is usually two-gapping.
cb LDE DT DT RDE cb
LLB MLB RLB
In this alignment you basically preserve the dual inside linebackers by shading your backers so that the MLB and one OLB are lined up between the DTs and one DE.
Either way , the more versatile the D, usually the better they are and I hope they are good using more than one defense for that reason.
The 43 over/under is as versatile as you want it to be if you make it that way.
Ok, this post is tooo long, but I tried. I got to the point where u said, NE did NOT run ANY 34 defense in 01 or 03. You wrote a lot after that, but why would I read it. If you arent gonna tell the truth, I dont wanna hear how you spin it. If you arent telling me you are part of the coaching staff, you are going by the same resources I am so in short. Thanks, I got it. I dont agree. I never said run the 3-4 just to do it. I understand you need the horses, but this 4-3 has had us last in passing yards given for too long. When you put Burgess in the 34 of course it S*cks. I never said anything about 2010. I mentioned 01 and 03